A Simple Theory of Self

“A stunning intellectual achievement.”

—Professor Leston Havens

A Simple Theory of SelfDr. Mann traces the origins of scientific theory to self-experience, ultimately demonstrating that science is the self-portrait of mind. Exploring various theories of psychoanalysis, their origins and limitations, he proposes a new view of the self: defined by the dimensions of reflexivity, bodiness, and time. These domains, fused in felling, form the kernel of psychic reality; the irreducible center of being.

Exploring the normal and pathological states of the self as variations of this model, Dr. Mann shows how his theory of self can restructure one’s understanding of the gamut of psychiatric disorders. The model suggests an unseen order to the chaos of classical psychopathology. Unconsciousness, uncertainty, and what appear classically as “mechanisms of defense” all derive simply from this point of view. Various repetitions—from addictions to deliberate suffering—can be seen as misplaced efforts to own oneself and to belong in one’s relationships.

The final chapters include the transcript of an in-depth consultative session, along with a discussion of this transcript. The simple theory of the self not only illuminates the patient’s feelings and dilemmas but also shapes the therapist’s behavior during the therapy session.

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Cambridge, MA

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